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Browne: Defence Amendment Bill a retrograde step
Diego Martin Central MP Dr Amery Browne says the legislation which National Security Minister Jack Warner brought to the Parliament was “completely dismantled.” He also said hundreds of police officers are signing a petition indicating the Defence Amendment Bill 2013, which would give powers of arrest to soldiers, was a “retrograde step.”
On Friday, Speaker Wade Mark had ordered Opposition People’s National Movement’s Browne to leave the Parliament Chamber for three hours. Mark had issued this directive to Browne who appeared to have made statements which the Speaker deemed inappropriate during the National Security Minister’s contribution to the debate.
Mark’s order came after he had to appeal to both Government and Opposition MPs for order on at least three occasions as the House resumed sitting after tea break. Moments before Mark instructed Browne to leave the Chamber, Warner alleged PNM agents attended a secret meeting in Maracas/St Joseph at the home of a person named “George Bell,” where a person named “Soldier Barry,” had said, “now is the time to destabilise the country.”
‘Govt had a poor day in Parliament’
Yesterday Browne said, “The Government had a poor day in the Parliament. Passions were quite high. The government has obviously put a lot of effort into the Bill to present it as an anti-crime plan. That illusion is dissolving in front of the population. It was completely dismantled. Warner was on his legs making some of the preposterous statements that had ever been made like crime is on the decline in T&T.”
Browne added, “He spoke about a report of some mysterious individuals involved in a plot to destabilise the Government and country. And on hearing those assertions, some comments were flung across the floor including the word ‘nonsense.’ I made a comment about nonsense.” Asked how he felt about being asked to leave, he said, “I cannot make any judgement on the Speaker. I know at the end of the day the Government adjourned the debate.”
Speaking about the petition, Browne said it was being signed by hundreds of police officers. “It will be presented to the Government, clarifying the position of many of our uniformed officers that this bill is a dangerous and retrograde step. Many other interest groups will be speaking out in the next few days and by next week the Government will be even more hard pressed. One wonders if they would even dare to put it to a vote.
I suspect when they realise the vast majority of uniformed services are against this ridiculous vote we may never have a vote.
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